In the future, entire buildings could be constructed out of materials built by 3D printers.
Students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have developed a way of printing out concrete, a building material that has been used since the days of the Roman Empire.
Printing concrete has several advantages over the traditional production methods. 3D printers can create outlandish, organic-looking shapes that would be impossible using moulds. Printers can also finely control the structure of the concrete to create a material that is both lighter and stronger than the traditionally made alternatives.
MIT student Steven Keating said the fine control offered by 3D printing could one day allow man-made construction materials to mimic the strongest materials found in nature. He gave the example of the trunk of a palm tree, which is composed of a dense exterior and a light spongy interior, giving it a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any artificial material.
Caption: Nick Heath, Silicon.com
Photo: Steven Keating, Timothy Cooke and John Fernández